Call Your Mom

mom boat

Just before Christmas my dad called and said that he had taken my mom to the hospital. She was having trouble breathing so they were running some tests. She was on oxygen and feeling okay by the time he left to go home. He was really calm and matter of fact so I assumed there was no huge emergency. I had an appointment close to the hospital that morning so I stopped by with a couple of magazines for her to read. She was off the oxygen, sitting up in bed and looked normal. I left the hospital and called my dad to tell him that she wanted her cell phone. She went home later that day and we waited for the outcome of her tests. Congestive heart failure. Not great news, but manageable and we all enjoyed a happy holiday season. Small sigh of relief.

Now its February and she is back in the hospital. Her heart was the original concern but after some preliminary testing they are doing more tests on her digestive system and monitoring her heart. She also has Parkinson’s Disease. Just to complicate things. She’s been in the hospital for almost a week now and I’m kind of having a hard time with it. I feel confused and scared and I just want it all to stop. I want the doctors to figure out what’s wrong with her and fix it damn it. Okay, so maybe add angry to that list of things I’m feeling. What if the results are bad? What if she needs surgery? She’s 82 years old and surgery would put extra pressure on her heart. What if her heart can’t take it?

mom skiing

So I’m doing what I typically do when I’m avoiding something bad. I’m cleaning the house. Top to bottom, bathrooms, floors, kitchen. Anything to stop thinking about it. The hardest time is trying to get to sleep at night. As I lie in my cozy bed I can’t help but think about my mom lying in the hospital. Uncomfortable bed, noises from the hall and nurses station, monitors glowing above her and side effect from the medications she is on. She’s putting on a brave face but I know how miserable she is and I want to help her. She was the one who always made me comfortable when I was sick. She’s the one who brought down all those high fevers I suffered from. She’s always been the one to make me feel better. I have taken her cookies, a crossword puzzle book, some sushi but it all seems so futile. I want to make all the icky stuff go away like she used to do for me.

In a lot of ways all of this would be easier if I was a religious person. I would have an outlet for my feelings and somebody to pray to. Maybe I could resign myself to the fact that this was God’s plan. And if it was serious, and she did pass away, I would know that she was in heaven and at peace. But I’m not religious and I don’t really know how to handle it. I’m a black and white person. I like things in neat packages and I like having all my questions answered. And not with “we don’t know yet”. I don’t have anything to turn to and make this earlier. I don’t have answers and there really is very little that I can do. Now I know why some people drink.

So this is what it all boils down to. The fact that it’s totally out of not only my hands, but anybody’s hands. It’s just that I’m not ready for this. I know she’s not going to die today. Probably not even this week. But this is the first time I’ve thought that it could happen. I can’t help but feel like this is the beginning of the end. I don’t want to feel that way but I do. She could very well be around for another ten years. But even that’s just not long enough for me. I don’t want her to die. There I said it. She drives me crazy sometimes but I’m not ready for her not to be there to drive me crazy.

So in the words of recent Oscar winner J.K. Simmons… your mom. Go. Do it now.

9 thoughts on “Call Your Mom

  1. Nicole February 24, 2015 / 4:42 pm

    I’m sending big hugs Susan! It’s so hard when you are unable to make the “icky stuff” go away. Trying to sleep in a hospital with all those noises is tough. If she would be would up for it, get her some ocean sounds (there are apps for this, or cd’s) and headphones…it worked for my mom when she was in the hsopital and I use it often to fall asleep. : ) xo

  2. candidkay February 24, 2015 / 7:32 pm

    I am so sorry. I know this feeling all too well. And the physical activity thing? Yes. It helps to eek out all the extra energy in the form of anxiety. You hope to reach a place of calm, but usually reach exhaustion instead. Wishing you peace. And openness to the revelations that might come to your soul throughout all of this. I wish we could learn only through joy . . .

  3. Sally Negus February 25, 2015 / 11:27 am

    I feel your pain. I too once was there. The road of life is not always easy. My heart is with you.

  4. Miriam February 26, 2015 / 11:30 am

    A good reminder. Thank you. My mom is about the same age as yours, and the time becomes precious when people are in their 80’s. I also clean when I’m upset about something 🙂
    My thoughts are with you.

  5. jameshessjr March 21, 2015 / 7:47 pm

    I’m really sorry to hear about this with your mom. As I get older these situations keep coming up and it is painful. My wife’s dad is almost in the same situation and it has been very hard on her. I can relate to the cleaning, because I have used that before myself. Being a positive person and religious to an extent, I know that I’m in that time in my life. I lost my mom a long time ago and on Mothers Day I sit and think about it. Stay strong and know that a higher power is in control and everything will be OK!

  6. Jennifer's Journal March 26, 2015 / 2:46 pm

    Having been through both of my parents’ illnesses and passing, I know what you’re going through. I wish I could call my mom – and my dad too! ❤

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